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November 22, 2012 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-22

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Young Arabic and Jewish
musicians find that music
an bridge the differences
among them.


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Music unites Arabic and Jewish
communities in Israel.

(248) 706-0000



t is uncommon for a Federation

has extended to a second campus in
mission in Israel to stop in
Jaffa, training more than 150 of the
Nazareth, a city of great historical
region's most gifted and motivated
importance but also the largest Arabic
youth. Talented musicians of Muslim,
city in the nation. Earlier this month,
Jewish and Christian backgrounds,
however, the Maimonides Medical
living just a few miles apart but never
Society of the Jewish
meeting until music drew
Federation of Metropolitan
them together, now regu-
Detroit visited Nazareth
larly play classical concerts
with the purpose of hear-
throughout Israel.
ing great music and
Their schedule this year
learning of bridges being
included the prestigious
Daniel Pearl Foundation
built between Arabic and
Jewish communities in
World Music Days concert.
our Partnership2Gether
They have also performed in
region. The visit was to the
Los Angeles, at Cher's home
in Aspen and in New York
school of the Polyphony
Joel Kahn,
City. The children typically
Until a few years ago,
range in age from 8-15 years
Special to the
there was no school
old. They have become best
Jewish News
of friends, and religious dif-
of music in Nazareth,
and Jews, Muslims and
ferences are set aside while
Christians in the region generally led
respect for talent grows over piano
separate lives. That was until Nabeel
keyboards and string and wind instru-
Abboud-Ashkar developed a vision for
music as a bridge to connect the com-
Two members of Polyphony, both of
Arabic background, shared first place
Born in Nazareth and trained
in this year's Israel music awards, the
in classical violin in Tel Aviv and
first time in 64 years this award was
Germany, Abboud-Ashkar, a Muslim,
split for two winners and awarded
set his mind to create a new real-
to Israeli Arabs. The group has also
ity in the region and founded the
recently founded a Galilee Chamber
Polyphony Conservatory. He joined
Orchestra and a multicultural center in
with Craig Cogut, a Jewish financier
from Greenwich, Conn., to found
The group was invited to Detroit
Polyphony. Cogut relied heavily on his
this past summer and performed
Jewish colleagues in the classical music three concerts, one of which was at
my home. The talent of the children
world of Tel Aviv to create a curricu-
lum and identify local students with
was overwhelming. Perhaps even more
musical talent.
exciting was the passion of Abboud-
Within the last five years, the group
Ashkar and the children to serve as

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November 22 • 2012


Dan Weinstein, a talented Israeli cellist, playing with his student Ziad Qassem

Sounds on page 22

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